Aadhaar linking for emails, social media accounts 'dangerous': Madras HC

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Observing that it would affect the right to privacy of every individual, the Madras High Court on Monday termed the relief sought in a plea as 'dangerous' as it wanted the Centre to declare linking of Aadhaar mandatory for authentication while creating an email and social media accounts.

There was a pressing need for administration, regulation and supervision of social media, especially on abusive and derogatory posts, comments and memes which further promotes misinformation and propaganda, petitioner Antony Clement Rubia said.

"Taking note of these factors, particularly their unhealthy effects thereof, mandating Aadhaar is considered to be the most practical way of addressing the menace and imposing stringent penalties, as it paves way for tracking the individual identities uploading multiple posts and memes," the petitioner said.

When the public interest litigation came up, a division bench of Justices S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad, said "This is a dangerous relief. It would affect the right to privacy of every individual. If the petitioner faces any such issue he can very well file a complaint with the police concerned and definitely they can track such persons and penalise under appropriate law."

The court then directed the Centre to file a reply and directed the appearance of the deputy superintendent of police in-charge of cybercrime wing to explain the manner in which such complaints are dealt with and the cooperation provided by the social media companies.

The court then posted the PIL to August 20 for further hearing.

The petitioner also cited as example the game circulated through social media named 'Blue Whale Challenge', which allegedly took lives of many young children.

"It was a time when the administrators of the game as well as the targets of the game were very difficult to find and locate, for the only reason that there is no record of the true identity of the users of social media accounts. It is notable that any number of fake accounts could be created and its actual impact on the society is always unnoticed," the petitioner said.

He said as far as culpability was concerned, social media is more vulnerable as the contents are not regularised, "This increases the risk of incorrect reporting and in turn resulting in erroneous opinions based upon misleading facts. While contents of newspapers and electronic media are reasonably verified, it is not done so when it comes to social media," the petitioner added.

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